The [Silver and] Gold Story: Olympian, Alumna Kristin Armstrong Tapped for Spring Commencement Speech at University of Idaho

Wednesday, February 10 2010

Written by Tania Thompson

MOSCOW, Idaho – Kristin Armstrong '95 will inspire the class of 2010 when she delivers the commencement address at the University of Idaho's main Moscow ceremony on Saturday, May 15.

"We are pleased to have our alumni return to share their stories of leadership and success with today's students," said President Duane Nellis. "Kristin Armstrong stands as a strong embodiment of the University of Idaho's legacy of leading by how she has taken her education and her passion for bicycling to global success and impact. We look forward to hearing from her."

Armstrong became only the second American woman cyclist in history to claim an Olympic gold medal; the first gold was won by Connie Carpenter Phinny in 1984. Armstrong's Olympic gold medal came in the 2008 summer Olympic Games in Beijing, China, when she won the 14.6-mile time trial in just 34 minutes. It was a moment she'd been training for since childhood and she called the win "the most amazing day of my life."

In addition to the Olympic gold medal, Armstrong is a two-time Olympian and five-time U.S. national champion. On the world stage, she has a total of four medals putting her in exclusive company with Greg LeMond as the only other American cyclist with four World Championship medals. In 2006, she became the third American in history to win a World Championship in the elite women's time trial. She repeated this accomplishment one year after her Olympic medal in September 2009.

"Speaking to the University of Idaho graduates is such a tremendous honor," said Armstrong. "I hope I can inspire each and every one of them to realize the possibilities and pursue their dreams with every bit of conviction and dedication that got them to where they are today."

Armstrong was born into a military family in 1973 and grew up in Tennessee, Italy, California, Japan and Idaho – where she now resides. She graduated from the University of Idaho College of Education in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in sports physiology.

She became a junior Olympian in swimming when she was 17 and excelled as a runner and triathlete until she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in her hips in 2001, which forced her to switch gears to cycling. Soon she became a world champion, Olympian and one of the most accomplished American cyclists ever. She is currently an ambassador for the YMCA of Boise and works to inspire those individuals who also suffer from arthritis.

The University of Idaho will hold four commencement ceremonies around the state in the spring: in Boise on May 5; in Idaho Falls on May 6; in Coeur d'Alene on May 10; and wrapping up with the largest ceremony in Moscow on May 15, along with the College of Law commencement on that day as well. More commencement information is forthcoming and will be updated online: Commencement.
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About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state's flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university's student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady's Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit